It’s an old story to Bears quarterback Nick Foles, but not around here. Foles’ NFL career reached a low point after miserable season as the Rams’ No. 1 quarterback in 2015.
Acquired in a trade for former No. 1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford, Foles was a shell of the quarterback who had led the NFL in passer rating two years earlier. He went 4-7 with a 69.0 passer rating in 11 starts with the Rams before being benched in favor of Case Keenum.
‘‘After my year in St. Louis, I lost the joy of the game,’’ said Foles, who detailed that nadir in his book, ‘‘Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure, and Overcoming the Odds,’’ which was published after he was the most valuable player of Super Bowl LII. ‘‘There’s many reasons that caused that.
‘‘And when I decided to come back, it was to play for Andy Reid [with the Chiefs]. I just told Andy during that time: ‘There’s a little spark inside me that might still be there that loves playing football. But I’ve got to be in the right culture to make that happen.’ Andy was the only one I wanted to play for, and I knew [then-Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt] Nagy was there, as well.’’
The season with Reid and Nagy rejuvenated Foles and got his career going again. He led the Chiefs to a 30-14 victory against the Colts as a replacement for injured Alex Smith in Week 8, then started the next week in a 19-14 victory against the Jaguars.
The rest is history. Foles returned to the bench when Smith returned in the next game, but he parlayed that success into a gold mine, leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl championship as a replacement for injured starter Carson Wentz the next season.
Foles is looking for a similar career bump with the Bears after a difficult season with the Jaguars. Signed to a four-year, $88 million contract last offseason, he suffered a broken collarbone in the season opener and later was benched in favor of rookie Gardner Minshew.
And, as was the case with Reid and the Chiefs, Foles is looking toward familiar faces to rejuvenate his career again. Nagy is now the Bears’ coach. Bill Lazor, the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach when Foles led the league in passer rating (119.2) with the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history (27-2) in 2013, is the Bears’ offensive coordinator. And John DeFilippo, the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach when Foles led them to the Super Bowl, is the Bears’ quarterbacks coach.
‘‘Being able to play for a head coach who’s also calling the plays, that’s huge for me,’’ Foles said. ‘‘I go back to my time in Philadelphia with Doug [Pederson]. Doug was the one calling the shots. So if we want to go for it, it’s his decision. He doesn’t have to go through a head coach, and I like that.
‘‘Doug and I had the foundation of a relationship that started in 2012, when he came down to Austin, Texas, to work me out before the draft. And Matt Nagy was his quality-control [coach]. Truly honored to play for coach Nagy.’’
That familiarity could come in particularly handy if the offseason program is abbreviated further by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘The biggest thing for [Foles is], he does have some experience in this offense,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘There’s a learning curve a little bit. For the most part, it’s easier for him when he comes into it.
‘‘This is a kid who’s been through a lot of different situations. He’s been a Super Bowl MVP. He’s been in pressure moments and understands a lot of the things that we’re looking for.’’